Writing on the Walls


The Guardian has a good scene story on Baghdad's poster war. Apparently, the place is covered with posters. "Everyone," writes Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, "is competing for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people—the Americans, the new Iraqi government, the religious parties, the insurgents, the mujahideen and even young clerics such as Moqtada al-Sadr. And while the Americans are playing left against right, the insurgents are blowing up civilians and the Iraqi government are re-instituting the death penalty, all are using the same method to actually talk to the people: posters. And they are everywhere."

The only ones that stay up, however, are the religious posters, which "are used to mark territories of influence." Sadr's posters supposedly feature the best graphics, but the most numerous are of Ayatollah Sistani, "who prints more than 50,000 posters every month."

At least Baghdad's printers are happy. Says one, "Before [the fall of Saddam] we had to get permission from the ministry of information for anything we wanted to publish, even for business cards. Today we're free. Yesterday I printed posters of Moqtada, and today I am printing chewing gum stickers."